PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Leaves are slowly starting to change here in Central Illinois. Right now you may notice a few yellow and brown leaves on the tops of trees, but the more pronounced colors won’t pop until later in the season.
Right now peak colors are found in the far northern Midwest and out in the Rockies. We won’t see our peak until around October 18th through the 25th.
Leaves get their green colors thanks to chlorophyll found within the leaves. Chlorophyll helps the trees absorb sunlight and sustain the tree. That’s called photosynthesis. When the daylight decreases there is less sunlight going into the individual leaf. The photosynthesis process ends within the leaf and there is less chlorophyll. With the chlorophyll scaled down, other colors start to show up in the tree’s leaves.
The sunshine we expect through this week will help boost the fall colors. However, sunny days, decreasing, daylight hours, soil contents, moisture, and very cool evenings really help dictate what colors the leaves will be. Some of those conditions are really prevalent in mid to late October here in Central Illinois. A time change, decreasing daylight, and cooler average low and high temperatures are more common during that point in the Fall.
Strong windy, weather and heavy precipitation can disrupt the process by knocking down the leaves before they can get their peak colors. Dry weather, sunny days, and cool evenings from now through October will really help give us the brown, orange, yellow, red, and even purple leaves we love to see this time of year.